Burn, baby, burn!
By Henry Lamb
web posted June 24, 2002
Yellowstone got our attention when it went up in smoke more
than a decade ago. Each year, the fires seem to get worse. If
it's not California burning, it's New Mexico, or Idaho, or
Arizona, or Colorado. Beautiful forests reduced to ashes.
Homes destroyed. Animals roasted. Firefighters - often young
volunteers - sacrificed needlessly on the altar of "wilderness."
On June 19, 2002, more than a half-million acres were burning in
seven states. And the fire season is just beginning.
How did the eco-zealots convince a generation of people - and
lawmakers - that it is a good thing to deny people access to their
forests, their lumber and minerals, and instead, allow the fuel to
accumulate so it can explode into devastating waste?
It is not a good thing. Once, foresters were taught to build
firebreaks - roads - through the forests, to stop, or slow a fire's
progress, and to provide access for firefighters.
But no. Eco-zealots claimed that roads in forests are not
"natural." School children are told that cutting down a tree is the
same as murder. They are told that mining is the same as raping
the earth. They are brainwashed with this propaganda every
day. What nonsense!
The eco-zealots have been very successful. Senator Barbara
Boxer continues her annual push for more "wilderness," where
trees can be worshiped - for awhile - rather than used, and then
turned into charcoal. Bill Clinton's 58-million-acre "roadless"
initiative continues to remove access roads to "wilderness," so it
too, can grow rich with fuel for future fires.
What Congress passes for environmental protection policy, often
turns out to be environmental destruction. What eco-zealots call
"conservation biology," is little more than Gaia worship,
seasoned with a splash of science. What many level-headed
people are coming to believe, is that this eco-zealot hogwash is
at best, wrong-headed, and at worst, just plain stupid.
It's time to recognize this eco-foolishness for what it is, and move
on to a common-sense, free enterprise basis for land
management and environmental policy.
Property rights and resource-use organizations have been
popping up all across the country in recent years, to try to
counter the influence of the eco-zealot organizations. Leaders of
many of these groups met in Alamogordo, New Mexico last
month, to begin developing a national, coordinated strategy.
These groups will meet again in
Nashville in July, to hammer out a plan of action to better
coordinate the energy and efforts of hundreds of thousands of
people who want relief from the policies imposed to appease the
Green groups are 20 years ahead of the property rights
resource-use groups. Coordinated funding through
the Environmental Grantmakers Association provides these
groups with millions of dollars each year. Moreover, these
groups have learned the art of corporate welfare.
The Nature Conservancy alone, received more than $80 million
in government grants during the last Clinton term. This
organization was one of five green groups, named as "executing
agency or collaborating organization" in more than $800 million
in grants from the U.N.'s Global Environment Facility in a single
The groups meeting in Nashville next month have no such "sugar
daddies." What they have, is determination, conviction, principle
- and common sense. They have no zillion-dollar headquarters
in DC; they don't fly around the world to perform street-theater
to protest progress; they don't blow up ski lodges and research
facilities; they don't hire public relations firms to conduct
expensive ad campaigns, and they don't take Congressmen on
junkets, or to fancy dinners.
What they do, is learn the facts, talk to their neighbors, hold
neighborhood meetings, meet with their local elected officials,
write letters to the editor, monitor their legislators - and vote.
And they vote with a passion. They care how candidates have
voted in the past, and they care enough to find out how new
candidates feel about the issues that concern them.
Green groups have scoffed at their rag-tag counterparts in the
past. Green groups spend hundreds of thousands of dollars
trying to discredit their counterparts, calling them "industry-front"
groups, while knowing full well that it is a lie.
Eco-zealots may be nearing the end of their era of uncontested
influence. People are wising up. Why should we pay millions of
dollars per wolf to reintroduce this species, when the human
species still needs food and shelter? Why should we spend
millions of dollars for the government to buy up more land, when
it can't manage the land it already owns?
Why should we continue to put more and more land into
wilderness - simply to let it burn?
Henry Lamb is the
executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation
Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International .
Enter Stage Right - http://www.enterstageright.com